If the question before the season was, "Which
Last season, the Patriots had one of the best running games in the league, and they augmented it with Vereen's pass-catching skills to create a tandem that was consistently useful for Fantasy owners. So far, however, Vereen and Ridley have just two double-digit Fantasy games between them, one each. And things aren't much better for Vereen in PPR leagues, where he has just one additional 10-plus-point effort.
The Patriots have one of the league's five-least productive offenses, as they are averaged just 298.5 yards per game, while scoring just 20.0 points per game. At this point, Fantasy owners probably cannot rely on either member of the Patriots backfield on a weekly basis, especially as long as they continue splitting time and work.
Ridley faces the Bengals in Week 5.
In other words, the failure wasn't Ridley's specifically but the offense's as a whole. He won't be able to take advantage of his opportunity to carry the load without the help of the passing game.
The good news is the Patriots' opponent in Week 4 is vulnerable to the pass. The Chiefs allowed big numbers to both the Titans' Jake Locker in Week 1 and the Broncos' Peyton Manning in Week 2. Not so much the Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill in Week 3, but even 37-year-old Brady is on a different level from him.
In other words, I'm with Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard in calling Ridley a No. 2 running back this week. He may not be Start of the Week, but he's an advisable start at least in non-PPR leagues.
Coming off a 100-yard, touchdown-scoring performance at Minnesota last time out, running back
Ridley's best chance to score came late in the second quarter, when he was stopped for just a 1-yard gain at the 2-yard line. It was his only carry from inside the 5. With the Patriots compelled to throw the ball in an unexpectedly tight game, Ridley got only seven of his 19 carries in the second half.
Ridley did catch a 7-yard pass, but Vereen was, as usual, the bigger pass-catcher out of the backfield, hauling in four for 17. Ridley will look to get back in the end zone Week 4 at Kansas City.
We know the risks with Ridley. Patriots coach Bill Belichick could decide this is the week to feature Brandon Bolden or rookie James White. He could make this a Tom Brady showcase game and throw at will, with Shane Vereen dominating playing time. Or Ridley could fumble in the first quarter, which has happened before, and all those potential Fantasy points will be sitting on the bench.
But we have confidence in Ridley this week. He's coming off his best game since Week 9 of last year when he had 25 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown at Minnesota. The Patriots were sitting on a lead, and Ridley was the hammer killing the clock.
The Raiders are making the dreaded cross-country trip for a 1 p.m. ET start, and their run defense has already been shredded in two games by Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory and Arian Foster. All three running backs scored at least 14 Fantasy points in a standard league, with Ivory and Foster gaining over 100 rushing yards and a touchdown.
We hope Ridley – and more importantly Belichick – doesn't let us down. But based on the matchup and how he performed last week, we're willing to take a chance.
For a complete list of Week 3 options, read my latest Start 'Em and Sit 'Em.
|6||10/12/14||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 10|
|11||11/16/14||@ IND||8:30 pm|
|13||11/30/14||@ GB||4:25 pm|
|14||12/7/14||@ SD||8:30 pm|
|16||12/21/14||@ NYJ||1:00 pm|
|2011||New England Patriots||16||2||87||441||5.1||33||1||5||18|
|2012||New England Patriots||16||12||290||1263||4.4||41||12||6||82|
|2013||New England Patriots||14||6||178||773||4.3||29||7||3||39|
|2014||New England Patriots||4||3||57||204||3.6||16||1||0||10|
|2011||New England Patriots||16||2||3||13||4.3||8||0||0||0||0|
|2012||New England Patriots||16||12||6||51||8.5||20||0||1||0||2|
|2013||New England Patriots||14||6||10||62||6.2||24||0||1||0||2|
|2014||New England Patriots||4||3||3||14||4.7||7||0||0||0||0|
|2011||New England Patriots||16||7||152||21.7||32||0||0|
|2012||New England Patriots||16||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2013||New England Patriots||14||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2014||New England Patriots||4||0||0||---||0||0||0|
|2011||New England Patriots||16||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2012||New England Patriots||16||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2013||New England Patriots||14||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||New England Patriots||4||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2011||New England Patriots||16||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2012||New England Patriots||16||4||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2013||New England Patriots||14||4||4||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||New England Patriots||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
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